Between Linux and Anime

Kind of like Schrodinger's Cat

GSoC Mobile Systemtray Update

Had been holding off posting on this until I have something reasonably pretty to show for it, but damn, said pretty thing sure took its time. Anyway, GSoC mid-term evaluations just ended, and I finally managed to hack up something that looks somewhat presentable. Here’s a short screencast of it.

EDIT: Oops forgot the ogg here

Some key ideas of the current implementation:

  • The tray lives in it’s own containment separate from the main activities/launchers.
  • There is a passive “shrunken” form and an active “enlarged” form.
  • The passive form is not interactive and click/tapping it simply switches it to the active form (with a simple QML animation thrown in). It shows a number of defined “always-show” applets and a limited number of the other applets, prioritized by recent activity.
  • The active form shows all available applets in large, finger-friendly sizes, and is scrollable in case it doesn’t fit the screen (hello Plasma::ScrollWidget!). It behaves more or less like one would expect a systray to behave.

Not a lot to show for one month plus worth of development I admit :( This is actually my third implementation attempt. In the first attempt there were two “trays” – one small and one large, and taking hints from the comic plasmoid, I put the large one on a full-screen transparent QGraphicsView which covers the small one when activated – but this isn’t nice since it, in notmart’s words, relies on compositing being available to not look like crap. So the second implementation gets rid of the QGraphicsView and instead positions the large tray relative to the parent containment, but then there was another problem: we can only have one set of plasmoid applets running to save memory, and there was no way to display one set of applets in two trays. So I gutted the thing again and did this third attempt where there is only one tray which shrinks and expands accordingly… and that’s what you see in the screencast :)

This is far from finished of course – if nothing else that “cancel” button probably doesn’t quite belong there :P Iirc I should also be thinking about doing notifications for my GSoC, so there’s plenty more to do for the rest of the GSoC period. Fun stuff. Alright, think it’s time I wrapped this post up and go clean up my code and commit it – and pray I don’t get torn to bits by darktears and notmart for some terrible mistake or design flaw I made :)

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Anisong of the Season: Listen!


  1. Sorry for the ignorance here, but is KDE planning on making its own mobile OS? (as in a fully fledged one, not just plasma running on top of your average mobile kernel)

  2. Jason "moofang"

    As far as I know – no, but then KDE has never produced any full fledged OS :) It won’t just be plasma though – as with the desktop and netbook, we would likely eventually have the platform plus a suite of applications to go with it. Other KDE projects that are making inroads into the mobile space as we speak include KDE PIM, KOffice, Kwin.

  3. OK – so if it isn’t a fully fledged OS, is there a specific underlying infrastructure that it’s going to be built for? For example, is KDE planning for this plasma + mobile apps to run upon Nokia’s Maemo? Will it be able to run with any other stack, such as on top of Google Android to replace its default UI just like HTC’ Sense UI does?

    If not, so far it looks very much like all technical demonstrations without any real-world application – simply because average people won’t use it and even if they wanted to, will find it hard to use it.

    I’m quite likely completely in the black on this, so I would like to learn more about it if possible.

  4. mutlu

    @Dion Moult: IIUC, there are several possibilities. In the end, it does not really matter since what KDE needs to do is the same regardless of the kernel. The plasma guys are currently experimenting with MeeGo, btw.

  5. Jason "moofang"

    is KDE planning for this plasma + mobile apps to run upon Nokia’s Maemo

    I think so, yes. Plasma Mobile has already been demo’d on an N900 before and PIM and KOffice already have Maemo packages available. There is also talk recently in the mail lists on getting together build instructions and packaging for the upcoming MeeGo with interested vendors apparently on the line. I think there’s a good chance we’d eventually see some of these on a Nokia or Intel device. My GSoC mentor is a Nokia engineer tasked with developing Plasma Mobile, so Nokia definitely has stakes in this :)

    Android – probably not since KDE needs a platform with Qt. Actually it looks to me like KDE is planning to expand wherever Qt can reach, so maybe someday it’d even run on Symbian and Winmo and such. But right now at least, the immediate focus is clearly Maemo/MeeGo.

  6. Thanks for the information – is there a source where I can be updated on this news or will I just have to keep my eye out myself? Also one last question – has any timeframe been decided for this? I would love to check out some KDE-flavoured mobile devices soon.

  7. Dion,

    I’m afraid most of this info can only be found in blogs right now, and there are no clear timeframes yet. We’re doing, not talking of marketing, as usual… But if you want, you can change that – the plasma website could probably use some updating, or an interesting article about this – would rock. If you want I can help you write it and get it in linux journal or other magazines even.

  8. Jason "moofang"

    @Dion Moult: What jospoortvliet said :) Following planet kde should work, and there is also a relatively low-traffic mail list – – that you can subscribe to if you want.

    Btw I clicked through to your blog and realized that I had stumbled on it some while ago. Just thought I’d say that I enjoyed some of your posts. I believe they were mostly on Google and Chrome OS :)

  9. Sure thing jos. I’ve subscribed to the mailing list and will hover around it for a while. I’ll probably set up a wiki page – where would it be most appropriate? (I’ve noticed quite a few, userbase, community, techbase…)

    Thanks Jason, recently I’ve been doiung a bit more “do” rather than “talk” too, so blog posts have been a bit … nonexistant :D

  10. Fri13

    @Dion Moult: It would not be smart move to start developing own OS. Look how long it has gone from Linux (the Linux kernel is operating system. Most people do not know it but they believe that user interface is part of the OS!. Monolithic kernels are the operating systems, microkernels are just part of the OS).

    If KDE would start making own OS. They should port all the software for it. Starting from Clibrary to all middleware (Qt etc) and then get whole KDE workspace work on it. It ould possible take 10 years to do so.

    Thats why most use Linux OS because it is developed by thousands corporations and communities. It gets hardware support fast and it is easy to use because monolithic architecture.
    There are many other open source operating systems but not so flexible as Linux and with so great community. Not even GNU could do their own operating system (HIURD). They did not get the GNU Mach microkernel work and now they have changed to L4 microkernel. HURD just isn’t going to be success as Linux was. (And thats why they need to steal it credit by lying that GNU/Linux is the OS and Linux is “just a kernel”!).

    Smartest thing what KDE can do is just use Linux. Then you can get Plasma Mobile work in many smartphones if they just get Qt to them.. As the Linux is OS in Android, WebOS, Maemo/MeeGo and Bada. All those are distributions of the Linux OS. Some use own virtualmachine to run all binaries (like Android’s Dalvik) and does not let programs to straight access to Linux OS. But Linux still is the OS in them.

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